Environmental sustainability

Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is committed to operating in an environmentally sustainable manner.


Isles of Scilly Steamship Group and Flylogix, made history at Land's End Airport.in December 2020. A drone freight service is not only technically feasible but that there is demand for its potential to deliver time-sensitive and high value items for the island community, using aircraft that have 98% fewer emission than a manned equivalent

Watch footage at Isles of Scilly steamship company.

Before the first NHS England carbon reduction strategy was produced in 2009, in 2008 the Trust approved a carbon management and reduction strategy which set a target to reduce carbon emissions from energy used in buildings by 15% by 2015 (against an 06/07 financial year baseline).

In 2012, in response to guidance from the NHS sustainable development unit the Trust approved an (environmentally) sustainable development management plan, which also included the carbon management and reduction 2015 strategy 15% reduction target.

By March 2015 the Trust achieved a 62% reduction in carbon emissions derived from energy used in its buildings.

In April 2016, the Trust was awarded the contract to provide adult community services primary care in addition to its mental health, learning disabilities, complex care and dementia, and children’s services across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

This increased the Trust estate by almost 50%, adding primary care hospitals, health centres, and associated office buildings to the Trust’s estate and clinical services portfolio. Trust staff numbers also increased by just over 50% from around 1,800 full time equivalent (FTE) to around 3,700 FTEs.

In response to the adult community services acquisition, and new guidance from the NHS sustainable development unit, the Trust ratified a new (environmentally) sustainable development management plan and environmental policy in October 2016. As a result, the Trust is now working towards reducing its carbon (CO2e) emissions by 28% by 2020 (against a 2013 to 2014 baseline).

Commentary on example projects and performance is provided below.

Utilities consumption

A utilities consumption reduction strategy is regularly reviewed, and capital has been allocated for energy and water consumption reduction projects for the foreseeable future.

Notable projects completed include:

  • automatic meter readers installed on 40% of the Trust’s energy and water supplies, enabling us to detect wastage and take corrective action more quickly
  • 1% of electricity consumed is generated by our own solar photovoltaic systems (56.5 kWp installed capacity)
  • heating, cooling and lighting systems upgraded across the estate
  • thermographic camera purchased, surveys completed, and insulation projects completed as a result of surveys


The Trust currently (March 2017) has one of the lowest tailpipe carbon emissions for an NHS Trust pool car fleet in the country.

The Trust’s travel policy encourages the use of its pool fleet, public transport and car sharing as part of its initiatives to reduce carbon emissions. A cycle to work salary sacrifice scheme is also available to staff.

In 2016, the Trust was one of the first organisations in the UK to receive the go ultra low company status which is a new government and automotive industry initiative run by the Go Ultra Low campaign group. This status was awarded in recognition of how the Trust has incorporated electric vehicles into its business fleet and made a commitment to boosting electric vehicle uptake over the next 5 years.

In 2014 a Department of Health grant enabled the Trust to invest in 15 electric vehicles and 16 charging points, a web-based booking system for all pool cars, 50 kWp of solar PV panels, and additional video and tele-conferencing equipment.

Since completion of this project in 2015, along with a reduction in business mileage across the entire pool car fleet, and use of more efficient vehicles, the Trust has reduced its carbon footprint in this area (up to March 2017) by 450 tonnes of carbon (tCO2e).


The Trust’s procurement policy has a section on environmentally sustainable procurement, which includes:

  • use of reusable products where possible
  • introducing low carbon criteria into procurement decisions where possible
  • encouraging local suppliers to bid to supply goods and services, and promoting the use of local businesses whenever possible and cost effective, but ensuring that any such activity is within Public Contracts Regulations.

Other initiatives include:

  • re-manufactured printer cartridges used by the Trust wherever possible
  • purchase orders issued via the integrated finance and procurement system and transmitted to suppliers electronically, with no paper copies produced
  • tendering and contracting activity undertaken by the procurement department is managed via an electronic system, with no documentation printed and posted.

Additionally, Trust sites receive a consolidated weekly delivery of medical consumable products from NHS Supply Chain, reducing the number of vehicles delivering to sites.


The majority of the Trust’s sites have recycling schemes in operation, and the number of premises with recycling facilities increased in 2016 to 2017.

In 2017 a new waste reporting system was implemented that will help to target waste management inefficiencies and identify areas that can be improved.

A food recycling trial commenced in 2017 on one of our largest hospital sites, and if the trial is successful the trial may be extended across all relevant Trust sites.

In 2016, the Trust trialled a dual bin which can be set up to accept 2 types of waste such as recycling waste and general waste which contributed to an increase in recycling rates on the trial site. This bin type is being promoted internally as an option to increase recycling across our estate.

Staff engagement

In July 2015, the Trust commenced a staff engagement resource efficiency project which aimed to encourage staff to take ownership over resource consumption. The project focused on reducing energy, water, waste, procurement, and travel costs and related CO2e emissions through site based workshops on key sites, and wider Trust campaigns and incentives. Cost savings from this project were re-invested into patient care. ​

The resource efficiency project is estimated to have reduced costs by just under £52,000 from July 2015 to August 2016 (91 tCO2e), and a summary of key project achievements are listed below:

  • 353 individual environmental awareness surveys completed by staff online
  • 179 staff attended resource efficiency workshops across the county
  • staff incentive and reward scheme set up
  • staff computer screensavers and e-posters produced to raise staff awareness about how climate change impacts on human health, finances, and the environment
  • additional recycling facilities put in place
  • additional low cost improvement projects identified

The project is currently being re-designed, with the aim of re-launching the project in 2017.

In the meantime, the Trust is developing a staff e-learning resource efficiency module which we hope will form part of our mandatory annual training for staff.

The Trust also regularly promotes environmental awareness campaigns (such as NHS sustainability day) through mechanisms such as the staff Intranet and the weekly staff email.

Partnership working

Trust representatives regularly attend cross public sector meetings to share information, best practice and collaborate on projects.


The Trust’s executive and operational environmental sustainability leads provide regular environmental sustainability reports to the board of directors’ performance, finance and investments committee, and other relevant groups.

Environmental sustainability is routinely considered as part of risk management plans, and information about the Trust’s environmental sustainability aims and performance is provided at staff induction.

Awards and recognition

In 2016, the Trust won the best contribution towards the creation of a sustainable energy economy award at the Cornwall Sustainability Awards. The category was open to individuals, communities, organisations and companies, who have designed, developed, integrated or installed any form and scale of sustainable energy into a site or building.

The Trust was one of only 80 organisations out of 450 to be assessed as having excellent sustainability reporting by the NHS sustainable development unit in 2017.

Contact information

If you would like to get involved in helping the Trust to operate in a more resource efficient manner, or would like more information about our environmental performance email our community waste enquiries team.


The following websites also contain information that you may find useful: